Compost Boosts Carbon Sink | Climate Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 10, 2020 by Noreen Wise

Compost is a big deal in the calculus for increasing carbon sink in our soil. It provides one of the most effective methods for the US public to assist with cutting carbon as deeply and swiftly as possible.

Peat is a compost. It looks very much like soil, but is simply partially decaded vegetation rich in nutrients. These nutrients are what enable the increased absorption of carbon. Peatlands are only 3% of our global lands, yet they store approximately “30% of the earths soil organic carbon.” In light of our extreme #ClimateCrisis, peat should never be removed from its environment to be sold to consumers for profit.

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The ever increasing carbon levels as the global population continues to grow, demands that we each do our own part in every way possible to curb carbon, especially in light of the fact of how simple and easy this actually is.

As we hurry to build infrastructure to support solar energy and EV autos, it makes sense to simultaneously rush to improve our natural carbon storing assets, which will further the lowering of CO2 in our atmosphere.

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Creating compost bins wherever possible can provide the much needed extra compost for forests, home gardens, public gardens and parks. It was exciting to see a “Compost” bin at the restaurant where I ate today. It was lined up with the other options at the recycling and garbage hub. I always feel so hopeful when a business “gets it” and does it’s little part. The care and maintenance of a compost bin in a restaurant is minor, but the benefit to society is huge. It pretty much follows the same ratio mentioned at the top of the page: 3% / 30% .

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We can do this!


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Is Philadelphia an Eco-Action Model?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 28, 2020 by Noreen Wise

The importance of nature as one of the vital solutions in lowering the global atmospheric carbon level has been documented. It’s now up to us to implement this strategy as quickly as possible. Yes, we must start sprinting so that we can not only save our children’s futures, but save their lives.

Eco-action, with multi-layer landscaping, green exterior walls and green roofs, has numerous benefits:

  • substantially increases carbon absorption if applied everywhere
  • lowers air pollution
  • improves mental health
  • beautifies city streets, public spaces, and neighborhoods
  • increases property values
  • is easy and inexpensive to execute
  • strengthens community ties
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photography by Noreen Wise

In search of an American city to serve as a model for other US cities, it was exhilarating to find major success in Philadelphia, PA, our nation’s birthplace. A very positive omen. A city we’re all closely connected with and that unites each of us through the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, that now shines like a beacon of hope and inspiratio

It appears that the genius behind the landscaping of Independence National Historical Park is very aware of nature’s role in solving the global climate crisis. Green walls, green roofs and layers of nature are budding everywhere. Not only in Independence Mall, but across the historic district, ivy on brick is a consistent theme.

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Do you see the liberty bell in the left window?

Nature’s role in solving the global climate crisis is tied to the fungal networks below the surface, threading through the soil, connecting all plants through their roots. The more nature, the more fungal networks. The more fungal networks, the richer the soil. The richer the soil the more carbon storage. Oh, and soil stores twice as much carbon as nature.

It’s very clear that we have what it takes to overcome the looming climate crisis challenge. All solutions are readily available and easy to implement. Our greatest nemesis is procrastination. We all need to commit to acting on these solutions immediately.

Let’s GO! TGIF. Let’s start this weekend, which begins in just a few hours. Happy planting. 🌳

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Setting Up Our Home Compost Bins ASAP

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

For the millions of us searching for effective next steps in reducing atmospheric carbon, as well as lowering our personal carbon footprints, having a home compost bin is a significant step forward. The best part, is how easy compost bins are to step up and maintain.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, 51% of trash is compostable. This food that is thrown away in landfills turns into methane. Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2. But when food waste is composted and then layered into the soil, the soil becomes so rich with nutrients that it substantially increases the amount of carbon the soil can sequester, which lowers our atmospheric carbon level, and reduces the global temperature.

Homes, restaurants, and large dining facilities — whether that be school cafeterias, hospital and corporate cafeterias, mall foodcourts, and large banquets and conference centers — should all be tapped into the simple compositing process. Be on the lookout at restaurants in your area. Most healthy and organic venues now have compost bins.

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There are many ways composting space can be set up. It all depends on where you live and whether you’re able to have a larger outdoor bin.

  • In the kitchen, it’s best to have a small bin, with a handled bucket  that can be lifted out of the lidded container.
  • All food scraps we normally stuff into the sink disposal, will instead by placed in the compost bin.
  • The small compost bin should be emptied each night into the larger bin that is either stored in the yard or garage.
  • It’s important that the large bin is ventilated, and turned with a large stick once a week.
  • Air enables the compost to process faster.
  • An official compost bin has a lower hatch close to the ground, that can be opened when the compost is ready, and easily removed to place in soil around the yard.
  • If you live in a condo or apartment and want to keep everything light, you may want to try a small lidded container on your porch or patio that you can empty by layering into a nearby forest floor regularly.

 

Hands emptying a container full of domestic food waste
photography by AdobeStock

Schools Districts have jumped into the act in a big way, transforming the composting process into a learning lab. Many schools share their composting efforts through social media and it’s very exciting to see students energized by being part of this planet saving effort.

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Teachers really enjoy these interactive, climate action learning labs, too. Win/win experiences are positive and invigorating, making learning fun and joyful. What parents doesn’t love that?

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If you don’t have time or yard space to set up and maintain your own compost bin,  a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.

  • They provide heavy duty plastic bin.
  • They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one.
  • They track waste & compost creation by the pound.
  • Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding… literally.

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So, take the leap. It’s super easy and will instantly contribute to carbon reduction!

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What is Carbon Sink? | Climate Crisis

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

It’s important to learn as much about carbon as swiftly as possible so we can turn the corner and begin to reverse decades of excesses that have led to our current climate crisis.

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300Understanding carbon sink is a significant first step. Carbon sink is the process by which carbon in the atmosphere is removed and safely stored, reducing the overall amount of carbon in the air. Thus, carbon sink is vitally important.

There are 3 natural carbon sinks. All 3, store more carbon than they release:

  • plants, trees & forests
  • soil
  • ocean

Some scientists work to find ways to increase the amount of carbon that nature can absorb. For example, soil. Organic farmers plant cover crops in order to allow more carbon storage, because it locks in the carbon. Cover crops keep the carbon away from microbes that convert the stored carbon to carbon dioxide.

Oceans can sequester (“sink”) up to 50% of the carbon in the air. However, when oceans store too much carbon, like it’s doing now, the water heats up and melts the glaciers from underneath causing the water levels to rise. Warmer water, and more of it, results in much bigger and fiercer storms, as we have experienced in the past five years.

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Forests store 14% of atmospheric carbon, much lower than the ocean’s sequestration. This explains why there are so many urgent cries for us to plant more trees. Planting trees is very simple and easy, adding not only more carbon storage capacity, but amazing  beauty and an environ that supports animal life.

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Oceans should no longer be a focus for carbon sink, rather we must target planting more trees and and cover crops.

We can do this!

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